Well, I'll go ahead and say it. That was a very interesting, very entertaining, and very satisfying match. And I can also say it definitely would not have been had we lost. Because, while I'm really not one to lay any blame at the feet of a referee, that game was not really officiated all that well. And the Toni red card maybe is more on the AR than it is on the ref, but that was just an incredibly inconsistently called match. Even the handball that led to Dwyer's PK goal I thought was questionable. And there's maybe an argument that Toni shouldn't have his elbow there to even give the ref a chance to card that, but just don't know...
But I don't want to talk about the ref. That was just an excellent, excellent performance. Sort of reminded me of playing the second half of the Manchester United friendly down a man back in the day, except this was an injury decimated squad playing in a game that actually mattered. Having a big swing of momentum going into the World Cup break is a good thing, and the rest is needed. Too many guys are beat up and still grinding out good performances (and to be clear, even in the five game winless stretch, I don't think we turned in any truly "BAD" performances), so the rest will be well received. Except for the USOC match, of course. Will be interesting to see if Bieler features in that.
And, on top of the momentum, I think it's always nice to stomp on a conference foe, even if the "rivalry" between Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo may be waning after we got the playoff monkey off our backs. Still though, it is one interesting aspect of the MLS style conferences with playoffs style of league, when a win against a conference opponent carries a smidge more weight.
At any rate, another thing I think is really cool is the fact that, should Besler come back, and should Gruenbaum find his way into the nets, we would have our entire defense made up of players from the Kansas City metro area. That's pretty incredible I think. Imagine if we wind up drafting Matt Besler's brother, Nick Besler. We could have six guys from Kansas City suiting up for us next year. Really really crazy I think.
I'd also like to give a nod to all the new guys. Over half the guys playing last night weren't starters or even on the roster last year, and I thought they played superbly. And Alex Martinez probably earned himself some fans with this.
Let's look at some numbers, shall we?
|A J Cochran||4.5|
|Sporting Kansas City|
And there you have it. High marks for everyone in defense with Kevin Ellis standing tallest. Good stuff from Eric Palmer-Brown and Lawrence Olum as well. All in all, like I said, a really satisfying result from that match.
And now, honestly, with the World Cup on the horizon, I'm going to be in full on soccer mode. This month is going to be awesome. Also last two episodes of Game of Thrones. Also sweet. Super excited. Wee!